How To Bath A Puppy For The First Time

Cute Cocker Spaniel Puppy Having his first puppy bath

When you bath a new puppy for the first time it can be a nervous time for both of you, but our dog-loving experts share their tips for a positive bathing experience now and every time after that.

A Positive Bath Experience For Puppy

It makes sense to do everything you can to make your puppy's first bathing experience positive. Make sure you are prepared with everything you need;

Anti-slip rubber mat for the bath or bowl
Access to clean, tepid to warm water
Poochiful Puppy Power Shampoo
Large bath towel
Yummy treats
Plenty of time!

Where To Bath A Puppy

Remember that to your little puppy, the bath can seem like a big frightening space! Gently put your puppy in the bath (without water) on the anti-slip mat first. Take a moment or two to get them used to standing on the mat and give lots of praise and reward. If your puppy takes treats, then provide them with a treat or two throughout the process to make bathtime, fun time.

If you own a small breed, you may find that the kitchen sink might be easier for the first few baths for both of you. Make sure you always use a rubber mat to ensure your puppy cannot slip over and scare or hurt themselves. If you don't have a showerhead connection, you can fill the sink with a few inches of water, so it comes up to the puppy's knees but no higher. Use a plastic cup to scoop the water up and gently pour it over your puppy. Remember, after shampooing, you will need to rinse off your puppy with warm, clean water. Remove your puppy from the sink before draining away the dirty water, and finish with cups of clean, warm water gently poured over your puppy.

Never leave your puppy unattended in the bath or sink, as you could risk them getting injured if they try to make a run for freedom. If you plan to bathe your puppy for the first time, it might be easier to have someone with you to help you, just until both you and your puppy are used to bath time.


Ideally, a shower hose is best so that the dirty water can run away down the plughole. However, before you put the showerhead on your puppy, you need to regulate the temperature. You want a pleasant, consistent tepid temperature that is welcoming and warm but not too hot or cold. Run the hose on your inner wrist until the temperature is pleasant before putting it on your puppy.

Hold your puppy gently under his tummy and start to rinse him with the showerhead starting over his back, talking to and encouraging your puppy all the time. Move the shower up and down his body (avoiding their head and ears) and over his chest until the coat is thoroughly wet. With double-coated and long-haired breeds, you may have to gently separate the coat with your fingers to get the water right down to the skin. When you bath a puppy, upturn the shower-head and rinse under your puppy's tummy, and don't forget his bottom!.

Once your puppy is wet throughout, thoroughly wet your flannel, wring out so it's not dripping wet and gently wipe over the top of your dog's face, outer ears, and under his chin until wet.

Bubbles Of Fun

Now it's time for shampoo! Pour a little of the Puppy Power Shampoo into the palm of your hand and mix in your hands, then gently start to massage it in, working across your puppy's body, under his tummy, around his bottom and chest until you begin to see the shampoo lathering up as you massage. This also offers a great opportunity for bonding with your pup, building trust and giving them a relaxing massage. If your puppy is confident, you can try picking up a leg at a time and shampooing his paws. However, if your puppy struggles with his balance, leave this until another time when he feels more confident.

Rinse Time

When you bath a puppy, you need to rinse off the shampoo with the showerhead. If you have turned off the water during shampooing, re-check the temperature before rinsing your puppy. Starting again on the back of your puppy, slowly work from the top to the bottom of the dog, allowing the water to run down and off the dog. Use your fingers to gently part the fur all over his body to allow the water to travel deep into your puppy's coat and rinse away any shampoo residue. When you bath your puppy for the first time, you want it to be a great experience, so make sure you rinse off all the shampoo carefully. Take your wet flannel again and give your puppy another wipe over around his face and outer ears.

Your puppy's coat should feel soft and squeaky in between your fingers.

To Condition Or Not To Condition?

Our Puppy Power Shampoo is the ultimate puppy shampoo because it has been especially pH formulated to care for your puppy's delicate skin and baby coat, and clean and condition without stripping the coat and skin of natural oils. The soothing combination of aloe vera and vitamin E means that you don't need to use a conditioner. However, our Pawfect Curls Conditioner is a fabulous conditioner that is safe to use on puppies from 8 weeks old and above, for an extra boost of moisture, like the rest of our range.

Rub A Dub Dub

Turn off the water source and allow your dog to have a good shake before you pick him up with a towel around him. A dog can shake nearly 70% of the water from its fur in about 4 seconds, so that should cut down your drying time!! Wrap your dog up in a towel, sit him on your lap and gently squeeze the towel all over to absorb the excess water, and wipe the towel over your puppy to finish.

Puppy Zoomies

Most dogs will have a crazy 10 minutes after a bath and will race around, roll and rub themselves on your soft furnishings, so make sure you don't have anything laying around in your puppy's way that they could run into or rub against that might cause them harm. If you have polished wooden floors, restrict your puppy's access so that he doesn't skid and slide and hurt himself in a mad post puppy bath moment!